Bengaluru: Shia Muslim Group Attacked India Today’s Office Over Aaj Tak TV Anchor Rohit Sardana’s Comment
According to a report by The Newsminute, today, a large crowd of Shia protesters gathered outside the India Today/Aaj Tak’s Bengaluru office chanting slogans, “Band Karo Band Karo, Aaj Tak Band Karo.” They attacked the office and attempted vandalising it. The protesters also carried a silent march from Masjid-e-Haskari to Aaj Tak’s office. This protest was organised by Anjuman-e-Imamia.
It was written on one of the posters carried by a protester that “the group condemned Rohit Sardana’s comment against Bibi Fatima (SA), daughter of the Holy Prophet, the wife of the Holy Prophet and Immaculate Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.”
Another Shia group had put out a statement demanding an apology from Rohit Sardana within 48 hours. Sardana had tweeted an apology. The protesters also demanded the arrest of the Aaj Tak TV journalist, saying that his tweets were ‘blasphemous’.
Sardana’s tweets on 16 November triggered an immediate outrage. The tweet came in the backdrop of the film banned in IFFI, Sexy Durga. Sardana referred to women in Islam and Christianity, including Prophet Muhammad’s wife Ayesha, daughter Fatima and Mary, Jesus Christ’s mother. His tweet asked why was the word ‘sexy’ used only before the name of a Hindu goddess and if the same can be done for the other names also.
This is the tweet which caused an uproar:
अभिव्यक्ति की आज़ादी- फ़िल्मों के नाम सेक्सी दुर्गा, सेक्सी राधा रखने में ही है क्या? क्या आपने कभी सेक्सी फ़ातिमा, सेक्सी आएशा या सेक्सी मेरी जैसे नाम सुने हैं फ़िल्मों के? https://t.co/OkMFNz0AQE
— Rohit Sardana (@sardanarohit) November 16, 2017
The tweet where Rohit Sardana apologized:
मैंने किसी धर्म का नाम नहीं लिया. ना ही किसी की भावनाएँ आहत करने के लिए कोई बात कही. फिर भी किसी को चोट पहुँची तो खेद है. इसे बेवजह तूल देना उचित नहीं. https://t.co/2dkuI7M1hf
— Rohit Sardana (@sardanarohit) November 22, 2017
Similar incidents of protest
According to another report by The Times of India, protests against journalist Rohit Sardana took place in Hyderabad’s Old City, just yesterday. People in large numbers from Shia, Sunni, and Christian communities staged a protest in front of the Old City police commissioner’s office at Purani Haveli in Hyderabad. The group of protesters was led by Shia cleric Nisar Hussain Hyder Agha. They demanded that the media outlet must fire Rohit Sardana.
Complaints against Rohit Sardana were filed at around six police stations in the city for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. Naya Nagar Police Station at Mira Road invoked IPC sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) and 67 of the ITAct.
Mohammed Abbas Rizwan Khan, president of Muslims’ Association of Peace and Harmony said, “This is another attempt to get cheap publicity. We don’t know if he tried to appease some of his political masters or ideological gurus, but his words have deeply hurt us and we condemn it.” Anjuman-E-Hussain Trust said in its complaint to the Versova police, “By his slander, Rohit Sardana has hurt the entire Indian community cutting across all religious boundaries.” Copies of the complaint have been sent to Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis and Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar.
Whatever Rohit Sardana commented is a part of his freedom of expression. Vandalising offices is not the answer to voice discontent against any individual and the ones whose religious sentiments were hurt should have taken the due process of law. The Logical Indian urges the concerned authorities to look into the matter and ensure that the guilty are penalised.